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All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown: 04/29/08
All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor is a perfect illustration of why I recommend everyone try reading a book at random. There are some absolute gems out there that might be beyond your normal scope of view. In last month's trip to the library I chose three books by random: A Traveller in Time, All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown and The Light in the Forest. So far, they have all been delightful.
All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown is the third in a series of semi-autobiographical books by Sydney Taylor about a Jewish family living in the New York in the first half of the 20th century. Uptown takes place around and during WWI and it was the WWI connection that first caught my eye.
The war, while a setting for book is only one part of it. Ella, Charlotte, Henny, Sarah, Gertie, and baby brother, Charlie must help their father cope while their mother is in the hospital with appendicitis. As the children are learning how to run a house hold while dealing with all the other day to day things like school, holidays and boyfriends, many of the early chapters cover what it took to run a home back then especially on a tight budget.
Then at a third level, the passage of time is marked by the inclusion of Jewish holidays. These moments bring the family to life and make me wish I'd been able to read and review the book in time for the Jewish Literature Challenge! In fact, there's now an award for Jewish children's literature named in honor of Sydney Taylor. The award even has its own blog.
This is a wonderful idea! With all my lists and arcs and challenges I don't get to do this very often but every once and a while I'll just throw up my hands and pick a few books up from the library that I've never heard of. And you're right they often turn out to be gems. There is something to be said for reading spontaneously.
BTW, I love ALL the all-of-a-kind family books!"
I am reading All-of-a-Kind Family (the first in the series) for the first time myself. It is our current read-aloud, and I am finding it perfectly delightful! I wish I had read it as a young girl, but maybe books like that are even more appreciated as an adult.
I'm looking forward to reading the others in the series. Thanks for the review! "
Next time I go to my library I'm going to look for more books in the series. "